The J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait of John, Lord Mountstuart, later 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bute

Object Details


Portrait of John, Lord Mountstuart, later 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bute


Jean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702 - 1789)






Pastel on vellum

Object Number:



114.9 × 90.2 cm (45 1/4 × 35 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

Lord Bute, who commissioned this portrait as a memento of his son's Grand Tour, was so pleased with it that he paid the artist twice the agreed-upon price. Exuding the self-possessed confidence of a young aristocrat, nineteen-year-old Lord Mountstuart leans against a mantel displaying the utmost in sumptuous French attire: a fur-lined winter suit of turquoise silk, lace collar and cuffs, white silk stockings, and diamond-buckle shoes.

Jean-Étienne Liotard depicted the charismatic English nobleman in an elegant setting--a re-creation of a salon in Geneva appointed with Rococo furnishings such as firedogs ornamented with cherubs and a Chinese folding screen used to stop cold drafts. Above the mantel, Liotard depicted Mountstuart's handsome profile and dignified posture in a gilded mirror.

Lord Mountstuart, and to a lesser extent his reflection, are sharply depicted and project forward from the surrounding objects, which are blurred to create this optical illusion. This portrait is one of the largest pastels Liotard ever painted and the only one to show a full-length subject in a meticulously described interior. His skillful effects of scale, format, and illusion challenged the conventional medium of oil painting, and Liotard himself considered the work a masterpiece.

1763 -

John Stuart, 3rd earl of Bute, 1713 - 1792, commissioned from the artist, 1763; by inheritance or by gift to his son, John Mountstuart.

- 1814

John Stuart, 1st marquess of Bute and 4th earl of Bute, 1744 - 1814, by inheritance to his grandson, John Crichton-Stuart, 1814.

1814 - 1848

John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd marquess of Bute and 7th earl of Dumfries, K.T., 1793 - 1848, by inheritance to his son, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 1848.

1848 - 1900

John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd marquess of Bute, K.T., 1847 - 1900, by inheritance to his son, John Crichton-Stuart, 1900.

1900 - 1947

John Crichton-Stuart, 4th marquess of Bute, K.T., 1883 - 1947, by inheritance to his son, John Crichton-Stuart, 1947.

1947 - 1957

John Crichton-Stuart, 5th marquess of Bute, K.T., 1907 - 1956, by inheritance to his son, John Crichton-Stuart, 1957.

- 2000

Blondeau Fine Art Services (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.

Rome on the Grand Tour (January 8 to August 11, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 8 to August 11, 2002
Jean-Étienne Liotard: A Cosmopolitan Artist (October 20, 2015 to April 24, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 20, 2015 to April 24, 2016
Pastels in Pieces (January 16 to July 29, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 16 to July 29, 2018
Eighteenth-Century Pastel Portraits (August 28, 2018 to October 13, 2019)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 28, 2018 to October 13, 2019

Liotard, Jean-Étienne. Traité des principes et des règles de la peinture (Geneva: n.p., 1781), p. 58.

Humbert, Edouard, Alphonse Revilliod, and J. W. R. Tilanus. La Vie et les oeuvres de Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) (Amsterdam: C. M. Van Gogh, 1897), pp. 27, 78, ill. (reproductive print).

Baud-Bovy, Daniel. Peintres genevois. Vol. 1, 1702-1817 (première série): Liotard, Huber, Saint-Ours, De la Rive (Geneva: Le Journal de Genève, 1903), pp. 32-33.

Manners, Lady Victoria. "New Light on Liotard." The Connoisseur 91, no. 381 (May 1933), pp. 298, 300, 303, fig. 5 (mezzotint reproduction by J. R. Smith).

Darier, Emile. "Société auxiliaire du musée de Genève. Rapport du président pour l'exercice 1934." Genava 13 (1935), p. 31.

Gielly, Louis. "Quelques acquisitions récentes de la section des Beaux-Arts." Genava 13 (1935), p. 352.

Gielly, Louis. L'école genevoise de peinture (Geneva: Éditions Sonor, 1935), p. 208.

Trivas, Numa. "Catalogue raisonné of the works of Jean-Etienne Liotard" (unpublished typescript, 1936), no. 93.

Trivas, Numa S. "London Society Portrayed by Liotard." The Connoisseur 99, no. 425 (January 1937), pp. 33-34.

Robinson, Frederick B. "The Activities of Liotard-'Le Turc' (1702-1789)." Art in America 32, no. 3 (July 1944), p. 145.

Liotard, Jean-Étienne. Traité des principes et des règles de la peinture (Geneva: Pierre Cailler, 1945), p. 108.

Fosca, François. La vie, les voyages et les oeuvres de Liotard, citoyen de Genève, dit le peintre turc (Lausanne and Paris: La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1956), pp. 102-3.

Europäisches Rokoko: Kunst und Kultur des 18. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Munich: Residenz, with Hermann Rinn, 1958), p. 131, under no. 304.

The Age of Rococo: Art and Culture of the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. Margaret D. Senft-Howie and Brian Sewell, trans. (Munich: The Residenz, with Hermann Rinn, 1958), p. 313, under no. 304.

Hugelshofer, Walter. Swiss Drawings: Masterpieces of Five Centuries, exh. cat. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1967), p. 46, under no. 62.

Loche, Renée, and Marcel Roethlisberger. L'opera completa di Liotard (Milan: Rizzoli, 1978), pp. 84, 112, no. 260, pl. 49.

Baumann, Felix, and Romy Storrer, eds. Jean-Etienne Liotard, Genf 1702-1789: Sammlung des Musée d'art et d'histoire, Genf, exh. cat. (Zurich: Kunsthaus, 1978), pp. 17, 44, under no. 55, catalogue by Renée Loche.

Ribeiro, Aileen. "Furs in Fashion: The Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries." The Connoisseur 202, no. 814 (December 1979), pp. 227, 228, ill.

Herdt, Anne de. "Introduction à l'histoire du dessin genevois, de Liotard à Hodler." Geneva, n.s., 29 (1981), p. 20.

Ribeiro, Aileen. A Visual History of Costume. Vol. 4, The Eighteenth Century (London: B. T. Batsford Ltd.; New York: Drama Book Publishers, 1983), pp. 9, 84, fig. 89.

Herdt, Anne de. Dessins genevois de Liotard à Hodler, exh. cat. (Geneva: Musée Rath, 1984), p. 82, under no. 15.

Ribeiro, Aileen. "Histoire des modes, histoire des moeurs." Connaissance des arts, no. 400 (June 1985), pp. 76, 77, ill.

Munhall, Edgar. Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville (New York: The Frick Collection, 1985), pp. 118, 121, fig. 99.

Ford, Brinsley. "Portraits of the English Abroad in Countries Other than Italy." In The Fashioning and Functioning of the British Country House. Gervaise Jackson-Stops et al., eds. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, with University Press of New England, 1989), pp. 103-4, fig. 12 (mezzotint reproduction by J. R. Smith).

Herdt, Anne de. Dessins de Liotard, suivi du catalogue de l'oeuvre dessiné, exh. cat. (Geneva: Musée d'art et d'histoire, 1992), p. 234, under no. 127, ill.

Mannings, David. "Reynolds's Portrait of the Earl of Huntingdon: Two Unpublished Letters." The Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1093 (April 1994), p. 233n3.

Christie's, London. Works of Art from the Bute Collection. July 3, 1996, p. 4, essay by Francis Russell.

Parmantier-Lallement, Nicole. "Liotard, Jean-Etienne." In The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. Vol. 19 (New York: Grove, 1996), p. 436.

Russell, Francis. "Mountstuart, John Stuart." In A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800. John Ingamells, ed. (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with Yale University Press, 1997), p. 686.

Export of Works of Art 1999-2000: forty-sixth report of the Reviewing Committee appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in December 1952 (London: Stationery Office, 2000), pp. 38-40, case no. 9, pl. XI.

Italy on the Grand Tour: Exhibitions Highlighting Getty Collections, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), unpaginated, ill.

Paul, Carole. Review of Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour; Rome on the Grand Tour; Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum. Eighteenth-Century Studies36, no. 1 (Fall 2002), p. 88.

Russell, Francis. John, 3rd Earl of Bute, Patron & Collector (London: Merrion Press, 2004), pp. 63, 73, 175, 228, pl. 8.

Rosenberg, Pierre. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Susan Wise, trans. (Milan: Skira, 2006), p. 146, ill.

Jeffares, Neil, s.v. "Liotard, Jean-Étienne." In Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800 (London: Unicorn Press, 2006), p. 339, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 123, ill.

Roethlisberger, Marcel, and Renée Loche. Liotard: Catalogue, sources et correspondance. 2 vols. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 2008), vol. 1, pp. 560-64, no. 421; vol. 2, fig. 614.

Blanc, Jan, ed. Paroles d'artistes: De la Renaissance à Sophie Calle (Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2012), pp. 174, 176, ill.

Jeffares, Neil, s.v. "Liotard, Jean-Étienne." In Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800, (accessed November 12, 2015; pdf dated November 12, 2015), p. 5, ill.

Baker, Christopher, et al., eds. Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1702-1789, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery, 2015), p. 199, under nos. 43-44, entry by William Hauptman.

Hauptman, William. "British Royal and Society Portraits." In Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1702-1789, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery, 2015), pp. 90 (detail), 98-99, fig. 51.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




The Poetry of Chinoiserie

Students examine works of art that incorporate Asian export objects, and then respond to them using Japanese haiku poems.

Visual Arts; History–Social Science

6-8; 9-12

Single Class Lesson